April 8, 2019 / 6:57 AM / 2 months ago

NBA roundup: Warriors earn top seed in West

The Golden State Warriors celebrated their final regular-season game in Oracle Arena with a third-quarter explosion Sunday night, producing a 131-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Oakland, Calif., that clinched top seeding throughout the Western Conference playoffs.

April 7, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell (5) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward Jonas Jerebko (21) during the second half at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The win was Golden State’s fifth in a row and 30th of the season at home. The Warriors’ first-round opponent, which will be the eighth seed in the West, has yet to be determined. The playoffs begin next Saturday.

The Clippers’ third straight loss dropped them to 47-34 and closer to a first-round matchup with the Warriors. The Clippers are battling Oklahoma City (47-33) and San Antonio (47-34), both of which won Sunday, for the sixth, seventh and eighth playoff spots in the West.

Curry finished with a game-high 27 points for the Warriors, who improved their all-time regular-season record at Oracle Arena to 1,166-770. Like the Warriors, all five Clippers starters scored in double figures, led by Landry Shamet with 17. All but two of Shamet’s points came on 5-for-6 3-point shooting.

Trail Blazers 115, Nuggets 108

Damian Lillard scored 30 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu added a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds as Portland rallied for a victory over visiting Denver.

The Trail Blazers closed the game on a 17-3 run to register their ninth win in the last 11 games. CJ McCollum made his return to the Portland lineup after missing 10 games with a knee injury. McCollum collected nine points, six rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes.

Gary Harris scored 18 points to lead Denver, which won the season series with Portland 3-1. The Nuggets played without center Nikola Jokic, forward Paul Millsap and guard Jamal Murray, all given the night off for rest. They need to win their final two games, or get one win and a Rockets loss in their finale at the Thunder, to secure the West’s No. 2 seed.

Bucks 115, Hawks 107

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points with nine rebounds, and Khris Middleton added 21 as Milwaukee recorded its first 60-victory season since 1980-81 in beating visiting Atlanta.

Antetokounmpo, who is now six points away from 2,000 for the second consecutive season, was back on the court for the Eastern Conference champions after missing Saturday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets because of a sore left calf.

Alex Len scored a career-high 33 points for the Hawks, who were playing without starters John Collins (ankle) and Trae Young (wrist). DeAndre’ Bembry added 13 points for Atlanta, which already has been eliminated from playoff contention.

Nets 108, Pacers 96

D’Angelo Russell scored 20 points, and Brooklyn clinched its first playoff berth since 2015 by leading most of the way in a win over host Indiana.

The Nets clinched at least the seventh seed after the Detroit Pistons lost to the Charlotte Hornets earlier Sunday, and could have secured the No. 6 seed if Orlando had lost its game at Boston later on Sunday. Russell shot 7-for-15 and made a 3-pointer for the 60th straight game.

The Pacers lost for the ninth time in 12 games and officially are locked into the fifth seed. Even if Indiana and Boston finish tied, the Celtics own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 17 points and Thaddeus Young — who was a starting forward in 2015 for the Nets — added 16.

Magic 116, Celtics 108

Orlando clinched its first postseason berth in seven years with a road win against Boston, ended the Magic’s longest playoff drought in franchise history

Terrence Ross scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, and Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who were perfect (22-for-22) from the free-throw line. The Magic are tied with Brooklyn for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with one game left in the regular season.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 23 points, and Al Horford added 18.

Raptors 117, Heat 109

Danny Green scored 21 points — including seven in overtime — as Toronto defeated visiting Miami, sweeping the four-game season series.

Miami’s playoff hopes were severely damaged by the loss. The Heat are now one game behind the Pistons — and tied with the Hornets — in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Pascal Siakam added 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Norman Powell also had 23 points off the bench for the Raptors. Dwyane Wade scored 21 points for the Heat, who have lost four in a row.

Hornets 104, Pistons 91

Kemba Walker scored 31 points, Frank Kaminsky added a season-high 24 and Charlotte kept its playoff hopes alive in beating host Detroit for its third straight win, clinching a four-game sweep of the season series.

The Hornets (38-42) moved into ninth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race and are one game behind the No. 8 Pistons (39-41). Charlotte holds the tiebreaker edge over both the Heat and the Pistons.

Walker added eight rebounds and seven assists and the Hornets also got 17 points from Jeremy Lamb. Detroit has now lost four straight and seven of its last nine. Blake Griffin scored 16 but was hobbling much of the day with a knee injury.

Rockets 149, Suns 113

James Harden flirted with a triple-double, Clint Capela posted added 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Houston closed out its home schedule with a 36-point dismantling of Phoenix.

The Rockets turned in their second consecutive blowout win on their home court to keep hold of the third seed in the Western Conference. Houston led 117-77 entering the fourth quarter against the short-handed Suns. The Rockets have won six straight, all by double digits by an average of 25.8 points per game.

Harden posted 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting with 13 rebounds and nine assists as the Rockets set an NBA record with 27 3-pointers. The Suns, missing a half dozen regulars, have dropped eight of their last 10 games.

Thunder 132, Timberwolves 126

Paul George and Russell Westbrook each scored 27 points as Oklahoma City had to come from behind, scoring 37 fourth-quarter points, to win its third consecutive game by beating Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Oklahoma City’s first three-game winning streak since winning four in a row from Feb. 5-11 has kept the Thunder in contention for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

Westbrook also finished with 10 rebounds and 15 assists for his 136th career triple-double. Westbrook is just two behind Magic Johnson for second all-time in the category. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 35 points, hitting 13 of 14 from the free-throw line, and Andrew Wiggins had 24 points.

Spurs 112, Cavaliers 90

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points, including 16 in the first half to a big lead, as visiting San Antonio throttled Cleveland in the teams’ penultimate game of the regular season.

The Spurs’ victory, their third in their past four games, allows them to continue to put pressure on Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers in the battle for the final three playoff seeds in the West.

DeRozan, Davis Bertans and Patty Mills contributed 14 points apiece for the Spurs, while Forbes scored 13. Collin Sexton and Brandon Knight led the anemic Cavaliers’ attack with 16 points each, while Ante Zizic added 14.

Lakers 113, Jazz 109

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to help Los Angeles hold off visiting Utah, whose chances of gaining home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs were damaged.

The Jazz (49-31), who also saw their seven-game winning streak snapped, trail Portland by two games for fourth place in the West with two games left for each team.

JaVale McGee had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Alex Caruso had 18 points and 11 assists for the Lakers. Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points but missed all 10 shots in the second half.

Mavericks 129, Grizzlies 127 (OT)

Reserve guard Devin Harris buried a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:26 to go in overtime, and Trey Burke scored a team-high 24 points to lead visiting Dallas past Memphis.

Backup center Salah Mejri slammed home key dunks in the latter part of the fourth quarter, tipped home the tying bucket with 1.5 seconds in regulation and then opened overtime with seven consecutive points. He finished with 19 points off the bench on 7-of-12 shooting to go with nine rebounds.

Starting for injured point guard Mike Conley, Delon Wright had a triple-double for the Grizzlies with 20 points, 12 assists and 13 rebounds. Justin Holiday scored a game-high 30 points, drilling six of his 11 3-point attempts.

Pelicans 133, Kings 129

Elfrid Payton had a double-double and made a 3-pointer that put visiting New Orleans ahead for good in a victory over Sacramento.

The injury-plagued Pelicans used just eight players after choosing to rest forward Julius Randle, but all five starters had scored in double figures by the middle of the third quarter. Payton finished with 26 points and 14 assists, while Ian Clark made a career-high seven 3-pointers as he scored a season-high 31 points.

Harrison Barnes scored 29 points, De’Aaron Fox had 24 points and 11 assists, and Marvin Bagley III had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings (39-42), who are guaranteed a losing record for the 13th consecutive season.

Knicks 113, Wizards 110

Mario Hezonja scored 30 points and hit a 3-pointer with 44.8 seconds left that gave New York the lead for good in a win over visiting Washington.

In his second start at point guard in place of injured Emmanuel Mudiay, Hezonja made 12 of 21 shots for the Knicks, who had lost 11 of their previous 12 against the Wizards. The Knicks (16-64) must win their final two games to avoid matching the worst record in franchise history, set in 2014-15.

Jeff Green had 19 points in 16 minutes for Washington, which has lost three straight. Thomas Bryant added 17 points, and Bobby Portis contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.

—Field Level Media

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